Good and bad news with our first Joburg rates bill 

Some good and not-so-good news yesterday when I got my first City of Johannesburg account since we acquired our new home last November.

On the upside, Joburg’s online system works well. It’s easy to navigate and bills are downloadable in a flash. There is also an option to have the monthly accounts delivered by email rather than post – something which puts the city ahead of the “first world” municipal services I experienced during our recent three years in the UK.

Not-so-good was seeing the rates charge calculated on a valuation 25% above the price we paid for the property just a few months ago. That is a major break from tradition. I’ve owned a few homes during my decades in Johannesburg and the city’s valuation was always at a significant discount to the actual market value.

Were Joburg a private sector business, we’d describe this approach as profiteering. Exposing the practice would quickly shame the business into changing their ways, forcing them to become more efficient rather than plundering from citizens. In the public sector, however, such disciplines do not exist. Which is one of many obvious reasons why, in the real world, the ANC’s much loved “developmental state” ideology is ruinous. In case you were wondering.